Mary Kayoko Kawata, age 96, of New York City, NY and Amelia Island, FL, was welcomed into Heaven on Friday, November 30, 2018.
A celebration of life will be held at Amelia Baptist Church, on Saturday, December 15, 2018 at 3:00 PM, with the Reverend Dr. Harold Neil Helton officiating. The family will greet friends immediately following the service. A memorial service will be held on Saturday, January 19, at the Noroton Presbyterian Church in Darien, CT.
Mary was born in Riverside, CA to Mitose and Hisao Shimizu on December 2, 1921. Her early years were spent in California, Japan, and Shanghai China. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Education from Kobe College in Japan. Mary worked for the YMCA in New York City before marrying her beloved husband, George, and raising a family in New York. While her husband pursued a career as an international economist and consultant, Mary used her degree to teach Sunday School. She took classes at the NY Fashion Institute, studied Interior Design at Marymount College, and studied oil painting at the NY National Academy and Art Student’s League of NY, becoming a Life Member. A long time resident of New York City, she also lived in Rome, Italy and Locust Valley, New York, and traveled extensively.
Mary’s life was defined by Christ and Christianity. A “preacher’s kid”, she was born to Christian missionaries. As a child, she attended the New England style church her father funded and built in Japan. As an adult, she was a long time, devoted member of the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church in New York, and more recently attended Tim Keller’s Redeemer Church in New York. When on Amelia, she often visited First Presbyterian Church, and then found her church home at Amelia Baptist. She was a member of Community Bible Study of Amelia Island and loved her Sisters in Christ at CBS. She also loved her friends at the Golfside Bible Study and her Amelia Baptist Church family. She always talked about how God’s Grace, Love, Kindness and Protection had followed her and her family throughout life. She sought to share His love through personal ministry, hosting missionaries and strangers, playing the piano and serving at church, generously supporting many ministries, volunteering at Hope House, Relay for Life and whatever the Lord put before her. She enjoyed a life of international travel, and wherever she went, Mary said, she would find a church, and “be home”.
Family was Mary’s top priority after her God. She was a dedicated and sacrificial mother to her two girls, Claudia and Emily. She loved unconditionally her son-in-law Peter, grandson-in-law AJ, grandchildren Mika, Geo, and Grace and her great-granddaughter Paloma. She was so proud of them all.
Mary is predeceased by her husband George, and son-in-law Peter Roux. She is survived by her daughters Claudia Kawata Roux of Norwalk, CT, Emily Kawata Kunzelmann of Amelia Island, FL, granddaughter Anna Mika Roux of Chicago, IL, grandson George Christian Roux of Washington DC, granddaughter Georgia Grace Kunzelmann Pendleton, grandson-in-law Austin Jared Pendleton, and great-granddaughter Paloma Rose Pendleton of Greenwich, CT.
In honor of Mary’s love for God, music, and her Amelia Baptist family, in lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations to Amelia Baptist Church Music Programs, 961167 Buccaneer Trail, Amelia Island, FL 32034. https://www.ameliabaptist.org/giving-portal/